Wetangula and Kenya Airways: A Love Story?

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October 25, 2014

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Photo credit: Capital FM

Photo credit: Capital FM

The answer to the question above is – not likely. If you’ve logged onto any of your social media outlets today, you have no doubt come across a discussion or four about one esteemed Mr Wetangula and the incident he experienced with Kenya Airways.

As narrated by Mr Wetangula himself, what would have been a routine flight got off to a less than favourable start when he was asked to show proof of his identity, as is normally done at boarding. Said former Foreign Affairs minister then proceeded to present his credit cards as a form if identification: his national ID card having travelled ahead of him to Mombasa by road with his driver. If walking the streets of Kenya without your ID seems like a bad idea, that’s because it usually is and this time was no different. The crew, acting on air travel conventions, denied Mr Wetangula entry to the flight on the valid basis of lack of identification.

The ensuing storm as Mr Wetangula protested this treatment resulted in a delay that saw the plane, scheduled to leave at about 08:30, allegedly take off at about midnight. Mr Wetangula’s statements in the wake of this perceived mistreatment have of course been fodder for discussions ranging from social media to the bloggosphere: some have supported the aggrieved, citing that as a public figure, demanding to see his idea was redundant – it was already clear who he was.

Those on the other side of the coin has offered insightful, and yes, often humorous arguments supporting the staff that enforced the identification of the law. Reminiscent of what has come to be known as the “nose pinching incident” Wetangula’s present saga had hallmarks of being a “you should know people” situation.

Photo credit: Africa Beat

Photo credit: Africa Beat

As many Kenyans have rightly pointed out, given Kenya’s volatile history with insecurity, seeing the law being upheld even in the face of politician’s disregard has been refreshing.

Far too often, the same Kenyans vocally complaining about the privacy invasion of having to be searched and produce ID before gaining entry to most buildings and even public transport avenues today are the same Kenyans who are quickest to blame lax security when the worst happens and tragedy strikes.

This is an unfortunate case of wanting to have your privacy cake and eat it too by somehow enjoying protection from malicious forces in spite of a lack of security measures.

While we here at Sidoman will say this: the laws put in place to regulate travel or freight across any medium were not lightly thought of. Careful consideration over years of road, air, sea and train transport practises and risks have led to the laws and protocols that are now in effect. The sentiment in making and keeping these edicts remains to ensure the maximum safety and benefit of all involved.

To this end, it is upon us as supply chain managers, commercial travel participants and even those that travel for pleasure to uphold the laws, and obey those in charge of enforcing them, regardless of our station in life. After all, if the President and First Lady can produce identification upon boarding, shouldn’t we all? Have a law abiding weekend, won’t you?


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